Three more Rafale jets leave for India from France

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Three more Rafale fighter jets on Wednesday took off from France for a non-stop flight to India, the Indian embassy in France said.

The jets are being provided mid-air refuelling by aircraft from the United Arab Emirates, it said.

'Another batch of #Rafale take to the skies on non stop flight to India with mid air refueling by UAE. Indian Air power grows further!' the embassy tweeted.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

The formal induction ceremony of the fleet had taken place at Ambala on September 10 last.

A second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on November 3 while a third batch of another three jets joined the IAF on January 27.

The first Rafale squadron is based in Ambala air force station.

The Indian Air Force is set to raise the second squadron of the Rafale combat jets in mid-April and it will be based in Hasimara air base in West Bengal, according to military officials.

India is expected to get more Rafale jets from France in the next few months.

The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The Rafale jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets. PTI MPB SMN SMN